Statistically, there are more pedestrians than ever on Michigan streets and highways. But in this area, there is no safety in numbers, as the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities has increased significantly in recent years. Typically, negligence causes these injuries. If you were hurt in an accident that was not your fault, contact the Michigan pedestrian accident attorneys at Buchanan Firm to learn about your legal options.
At Buchanan Firm, our experienced injury attorneys know what it takes to obtain maximum compensation in injury cases. We use proven methods to collect evidence and build a legal claim. This same experience helps us anticipate and refute insurance company defenses in these cases. Therefore, our clients have added peace of mind, which helps them recover from accidents physically, emotionally, and financially, so they can move on with life.
Poorly-designed roadways and driver errors cause most of the fatal and nonfatal pedestrian accidents in Michigan.
Most of the major streets in Michigan were designed to move vehicle traffic as fast as possible from one place to another. So, speed limits are as high as road and traffic conditions permit. Furthermore, most roads are very wide and most red lights are relatively short. As a result, it is very difficult for pedestrians to cross these busy streets. That’s especially true if they have even slight mobility impairments.
Additionally, there is a direct relationship between vehicle speed and pedestrian injuries. If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is traveling slower than 20mph, the pedestrian death rate is under 10 percent. But the fatality rate skyrockets to a staggering 90 percent at impact speeds of greater than 40mph.
Drivers’ failure to yield also causes many of these accidents. For example, when drivers make right turns at intersections, they often look left and, if no cars are approaching, immediately accelerate into traffic. They may not see a pedestrian in the crosswalk, because they do not look in that direction.
If a defective roadway substantially caused a pedestrian injury, it may be possible to file a claim against the city, county, or other government agency which was responsible. Michigan has sovereign immunity in many of these areas, but that immunity is limited. Since these claims are quite complex, only the most experienced Michigan pedestrian accident lawyers should handle them.
Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) have no immunity in these situations. So, a legal claim against the negligent driver could be based on:
Damages in pedestrian accident claims typically include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in extreme cases.
Most pedestrian accidents occur outside marked crosswalks and at non-intersections. So, insurance company lawyers often raise the sudden emergency defense. These lawyers argue that since the pedestrian “darted out into traffic,” the tortfeasor is not responsible for damages.
However, a jaywalking pedestrian is not a sudden emergency, as Michigan law defines this phrase in this context. A sudden emergency is a completely unexpected development, like a tire blowout or a hood fly-up. Jaywalking pedestrians, construction zones, and large potholes are everyday occurrences, and not sudden emergencies.
Pedestrians take considerable risks whenever they cross the street. For a free consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence matters.